Charli XCX is Making Pop Shine Again

Charli XCX is Making Pop Shine Again

The superstar's latest single and the accompanying video “1999” is the perfect encapsulation of what she’s been aiming to pull off her entire career.

The superstar's latest single and the accompanying video “1999” is the perfect encapsulation of what she’s been aiming to pull off her entire career.

Text: Nora-Grayce Orosz

One of the most exciting artists in pop right now is flipping the genre on its head and shaking things up in a major way. Charli XCX’s latest single and the accompanying video, “1999” is the perfect encapsulation of what she’s been aiming to pull off her entire career. Charli is taking it back to the ‘90s, when pop music was light, often a little silly, but with pure, saturated feeling.

Some diehard fans will remember that Charli XCX has been on the scene since 2012; her early mixtapes like Heartbreaks and Earthquakes and Super Ultra gave us a taste of what was to come from the young pop mastermind, but didn’t cause any major waves overseas in her home country the UK. She distanced  herself from the moody sounds of that general 2012 tumblr era of experimental pop and R&B music, which, looking back, makes her rise all the more impressive. She ditched the formula in favor of what was true to her.

Then came her first studio album, True Romance. The LP, despite having some expertly crafted songs, (uhh “Nuclear Seasons,” “Lock You Up” “You- Ha Ha Ha”...*chef kiss*) peaked only at the 85th slot on the UK charts. Finally, it was Sucker, Charli’s sophomore debut, that really got the ball rolling for the then 22-year-old. The catchy, upbeat sounds of Sucker helped the pop star explode into international success. Songs like “Boom Clap,” and “Break The Rules” became certified pop anthems overnight and quickly established Charli’s party girl persona.

Whether you’ve been paying attention or not, Charli has been slowly but surely climbing her way to the top, and now that she’s here, she’s going to make things interesting. Ditching the avoiding the quo comes easy for the Essex-born artist, and it’s clear that it’s working for her. What makes Charli’s current position so truly exciting is what she’s chosen to do with her platform.

Between Number 1 Angel and Pop 2, Charli XCX has shown us that she excels with the simple formula of a stellar beat and some good vibes. Ironically enough, Charli got her start as an artist performing at London raves and warehouse parties, and today, she’s throwing some of the most exciting, high-energy dance parties of her own, all over the world in support of Pop 2. These parties have evolved into somewhat of the stuff of legend among her devoted young fans, with tickets selling out before they’re officially announced and being full to capacity at the small indie venues they’re held. It’s a testament to Charli’s personal brand of fun that these DIY events are such a hit. Sometimes—especially in today’s trying times—we just need a good, clean, dance-your-heart-out party, and this is what the pop singer does best.

Aside from the parties, Charli is impressively using her platform to bring other budding artists into the spotlight. Many of her frequent collaborators can still be considered underground independent artists. Artists and songwriters like Dorian Electra, Kim Petras, Alma, Cupcakke, and many of the other performers that are often listed as support on her Pop 2 parties have gained massive followings in a short time from being put on by XCX. This spirit of kinship isn’t always common in the music industry, especially so in the pop genre. For years, pop idols have been pitted against each other, vying for the top spots on the charts, and being portrayed as rivals. But Charli is again flipping the switch. Taking note from the rap community, she’s realized that bringing others up is much more fun, and has taken every opportunity to collaborate and perform with her musical colleagues.

Charli XCX is in the prime of her career. She’s made a habit out of ditching the status quo, and it’s pulled off massively. Her latest track with singer Troye Sivan is a testament to her personal, fun-loving brand. On “1999” she pines for the “good old days” cruising around her old neighborhood in a classic Mercedes with her Nike Airs. The ‘90s were their own decade of bubbly pop fun, but Charli may soon look back on this era, and realize it was the real good old days.

While we can now speculate and look forward to what Charli XCX has up her sleeve next, we know that whatever happens, it’ll be a damn good time.

Credits: IMAGE VIA @charli_xcx

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